Stars pay higher tax than TV bosses

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Kim Chiu paid more taxes in 2010 than her ABS-CBN employer Eugenio Lopez III, who in turn was a notch higher in the top taxpayers list than Willie Revillame

TOP TAXPAYER. Showbiz personality Kim Chiu, also a product endorser, paid more income tax than ABS-CBN chair and CEO Eugenio Lopez III in 2010. Screen grab from Chiu's Skin White ad 

MANILA, Philippines – Did you know showbiz personality Kim Chiu paid higher income tax than Eugenio Lopez III, the chief of ABS-CBN, her employer, in 2010?

Chiu, who rose to stardom after her stint in ABS-CBN’s reality show Pinoy Big Brother in 2006, then paid over P9.3-M in income tax, making her the Philippines’ 131st top taxpayer that year.

Her tax payment is based on her declared income of P33.7-M, according to data recently released by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Her boss at ABS-CBN, Lopez, paid roughly two-thirds the tax of the 21-year-old actress, who also gets paid for TV ads.

The ABS-CBN chair and CEO paid an income tax of almost P5.9-M after declaring an income of P18.45-M in 2010. The BIR listed him as the Philippines’ 248th top taxpayer in 2010.

A higher income tax means a higher contribution to public coffers – that is, money for infrastructure and poverty alleviation, among other things.

ABS-CBN Corp, however, was the 20th top corporate taxpayer during the year. Based on BIR data, its tax payment reached P1.23-B, which was based on declared gross sales of P17.05-B.  

Its rival, GMA Network Inc, was the 3 notches down at the 23rd spot on the top corporate taxpayers list. It paid P948-M taxes based on gross sales of P14.13-B.

The BIR relies on large taxpayers like Chiu, Lopez, major companies, or those who have paid at least P1-M in income tax, to achieve what could be an unprecedented feat of collecting P1.066 trillion in taxes in 2012. This, after the government missed its tax collection target in 2011. 

LARGE TAXPAYERS. Big stars join the ranks of BIR's large taxpayers, shown in a gathering in this file photo.

The BIR is urging the public to pay their taxes before the April 15 annual deadline.

Willie over MVP

In TV5, its game show host Willie Revillame trumped network chair Manuel V. Pangilinan in terms of income tax paid.

The BIR named Revillame, who moved to TV5 from ABS-CBN in September 2010, as its 21st top taxpayer in 2010 – one notch lower than ABS-CBN’s Lopez.

Revillame paid an income tax P26.5-M after declaring an income of over P82-M.

Pangilinan, on the other hand, paid roughly three-fourths Revillame’s income tax.

A business mogul who chairs other companies like telecommunications firm PLDT and infrastructure firm Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC), Pangilinan paid over P20-M in income tax, making him the country’s 43rd top taxpayer in 2010. He declared an income of over P62.85-M.

TV5 president and CEO Ray Espinosa, for his part, paid more than both Revillame and Pangilinan.

Espinosa, who also sits on the PLDT board of directors, was the country’s 13th top taxpayer in 2010. He paid an income tax of over P36.5-M after declaring an income of over P114.19-M in that year.

Gozon stands out

The only network executive who paid more taxes than his artists in 2010, was GMA Network chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon. The 36th top taxpayer in 2010, Gozon paid an income tax of over P22.15-M after declaring an income of over P69.34-M.

The Kapuso star who paid the most taxes in 2010, according to BIR data, was the comedian popularly known as Michael V.

Named Beethoven Bunagan in real life, Michael V was the country’s 40th top taxpayer after having paid P20.94-M in 2010. He earned around P65.55-M.

Five notches below Michael V was GMA Network’s president and COO Gilberto Duavit Jr, who paid an income tax of over P19.67-M. He declared an income of almost P61.59-M in 2010.

Antonio Tuviera, who produces the GMA Network blocktimer Eat Bulaga, was the country’s 59th top taxpayer in 2010. He paid an income tax of almost P16.59-M after declaring an income of P51.94-M.

Big stars’ tax

The BIR included other big celebrities in its list of top taxpayers in 2010. 

Kris Aquino
Sarah Geronimo
Piolo Pascual
Marian Rivera
John Lloyd Cruz
Claudine Barretto
Boy Abunda
Manny Pacquiao
Judy Anne Santos


See the complete list of top taxpayers in 2010 as released by the BIR:

Name and shame

Lately, the government has waged a name-and-shame campaign against high-profile individuals and entities who failed to meet or evaded payment of their tax or customs obligations. A recent target was Pacquiao, who faces contempt charges from the BIR for failing to present tax records. 

The government’s efforts to improve revenue collections bore fruit in the first 2 months of 2012, the BIR said last week. The agency said it exceeded its January-February tax collections target by 2.28%. 

This year alone, the BIR aims to recover around P40 billion from the tax evasion cases it has filed since the Aquino administration began in 2010. 

It is not enough for government to run after tax evaders, however, an expert earlier told Rappler. Roberto de Ocampo, a former finance secretary, said the government needs to implement new tax measures to reach its target collections.  


One of the proposed measures is the so-called sin tax on tobacco and alcohol. –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email